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PBC urged to challenge SJC hearing against two judges

PBC urged to challenge SJC hearing against two judges

ISLAMABAD: Three senior members of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) have proposed to the lawyers body to approach the Supreme Court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution and challenge the Supreme Judicial Council’s (SJC) proceedings in the presidential references against two superior court judges — Justice Qazi Faez Isa of the Supreme Court and Justice K. K. Agha of the Sindh High Court.

The resolution, in the form of a letter to the PBC secretary, has been written by former presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), Rasheed A. Razvi, Kamran Murtaza and Akhtar Hussain.

The resolution asked the PBC to file a petition in the Supreme Court, suggesting that no member of the SJC be included in the bench constituted to hear the case.

Kamran Murtaza told Dawn the resolution was expected to be approved by the PBC soon.

The Supreme Judicial Council has so far held three hearings and issued two show-cause notices to Justice Isa.

The first related to the presidential reference instituted by the law ministry against the judge for possessing properties in the United Kingdom in the name of his wife and children. The second was issued on a reference filed by a lawyer from Lahore after Justice Isa addressed two letters to President Dr Arif Alvi.

On his part, Justice Isa has requested Chief Justice Asif Saeed Khosa to order provision of evidence so that he can write his reply to the notices and make it public.

The resolution has been proposed by three senior members of the council under Rule 91 of the Pakistan Legal Practitioners and Bar Councils Rules of 1976.

The resolution recalled how the Pakistan Bar Council had condemned and sought immediate withdrawal of the federal government’s reference against the two judges as it was “based on mala fide intention and ulterior motives to attack independent judges”.

On the call of the PBC, the resolution said, the Islamabad Bar Council, SCBA and other lawyers’ bodies agitated against the filing of the “mala fide references” against the two judges and organised a number of lawyers conventions.

But despite constant agitation by the bar, the government had not paid heed to its demand for withdrawal of the references, the resolution added.

The PBC expressed fears that a decision on the references would not take long since the SJC was holding sittings regularly.

The resolution said the legal fraternity had an apprehension that the government was bent upon undermining the independence of the judiciary.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2019

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